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Chapter 4 of Mr. Tucker’s novel 2065, which we are serializing, on America after China’s seizure of Pearl Harbor.
Even as President Jean Armageddon rushed down the hallway to the Cabinet room, s/he was besieged by aides.
“Mizza President, the Governor of Hawaii would like a personal hologram with you.”
“Mizza President, the Japanese say they’re going to stay neutral in this conflict.”
“Mizza President, the European Union says America and China should settle their differences without dragging the world into a war.”
“Mizza President, the Internet poll shows that 63 percent of the American public does not believe that the pictures of the Chinese fleet in Pearl Harbor are real.”
The last caught the President’s attention. “Well, I’m going to go on television in half an hour and convince them that what they’re seeing is real. Have the cameras set up at my desk. We’ll broadcast as soon as this meeting is over.”
As she swept into the Cabinet Room, the buzz subsided immediately. Everyone was already seated. Vice President Meers, Secretary of State Adams, and several others started to rise in respect but s/he waved them down. “Let’s get started,” s/he said brusquely. “I want to hear from the military first.”
All eyes turned toward General Hiram Forebender, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at the far end of the table. A square, stocky man in his mid-50s with gray at the temples and a jut jaw, he seemed to have been born into his uniform. Thumbing his i-World with studied deliberation, he cleared his throat and began:
“Mizza President, this morning at 4:23 a.m., a portion of the Chinese Navy entered the waters of Pearl Harbor Bay. The flotilla consists of two supercruisers, the Qingdao and the Taicang, two destroyers, the Guǎngzhōu and the Chóngqìng, plus two troop transports. There is also a vessel we are unable to identify that we believe to be an electronic fortress capable of jamming all communications within fifty miles. One aircraft carrier, the Phangjong, is also sitting outside the harbor.”
“Have the transports got soldiers on them?” Jean shot back. As much as the military and even members of her cabinet might have doubts about the President’s fitness for the office, they were always impressed with herm quickness of mind and ability to run a meeting.
“Sir — ah, Mizza President — .”
“Do not address me as ‘sir,’ General.”
“I’m sorry, it’s an old habit I picked up in the military.” General Forebender chuckled but no one followed and so he quickly went on.
“Mizza President, we believe each transport to be loaded with at least 2,000 members of the People’s Liberation Army. There has been no attempt to put them ashore but they do have the capability. Each transport is equipped with amphibious landing gear but there are no indications of putting them to use at this time.”
The President took measure of this and then looked around the room. “Alright, can anyone explain to me how this happened?”
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